Giving Back

West Orange Resident Mobilizes Hope For Two Families In Need During the Holiday Season

Susan Palmucci  Credits: provided by Susan Palmucci

WEST ORANGE, NJ – Susan Palmucci of West Orange has become a guardian angel of sorts this holiday season. Or maybe you could call her the leader of a group of angels in the West Orange area.

Over the course of less than a month, she and others helped two families who desperately needed it. But to hear her tell it, the people in West Orange and surrounding areas who answered her requests for donations of money and goods are the real angels.

“I’m just trying to do my part,” she said.

Sign Up for E-News

On Nov.12, Palmucci found out that after a year-and-a-half wait, a former student and her family had finally been given public housing in Newark, where Palmucci teaches. The family has nine children and they were thrilled to be given someplace to call home.

But, when Palmucci went to visit them, “What I saw made me very sad,” she said. “The kids were so happy but they were all sleeping on blankets on the floor. No furniture, no kitchen appliances, little food…. but it was theirs.”

Palmucci said she was moved to action because “everyone can be vulnerable to changes in their life.”

“It could happen at any time,” she said. “I teach in Newark, tutor seven days a week; I’m comfortable in my life, not rich, but comfortable, but that could change any day.”

Palmucci reached out to Facebook contacts in the West Orange 411 group for donations….furniture, bedding, clothes, appliances….she said that “anything would be great.” She said she never expected the response she would get. In a week’s time—people reached out to her with all kinds of goods….which presented a new problem.

“How on Earth was I going to collect all this stuff and transport it?,” she asked.

U-Haul of East Orange came to the rescue. The company was contacted about a donation of a truck for a day, which they gave her, and Palmucci, her daughter and niece set out to go to 43 houses for their donations. They collected so much that the truck was full and they just couldn’t get to everyone who pledged.

“When we pulled up to the public housing unit, the kids came running out. As we opened the back door of the truck, one of the girls squealed...”oooo, we have beds.”

"I got a big lump in my throat,” she said. “Doesn't everyone have a bed to sleep in? It is the small things that are huge to this family. The parents were so grateful.”

Palmucci found out that the generosity to that family continued into the next week. The mother met her at school and told her someone donated a bag full of toys to the family, and tucked inside a greeting card were four $100 ShopRite gift cards and happy holiday wishes.

While this sounds like a great ending to a story—Palmucci didn’t know there was more help needed. Days later, she met someone outside the supermarket who she hadn’t seen in a while—someone she calls “a great woman and great mom.” She found out that this woman and her family had lost everything they had financially, and that she was living in a motel with her two children.

“I’m going to help you,” Palmucci told the woman. “I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I’m going to help you.”

Ad help she did—Palmucci started a “Go Fund Me” donation site for the family, which she announced on many Facebook sites. She then began collecting gift cards and any other donations. So far, she has raised a total of about $500, plus gift cards—and she is just getting started..

Palmucci said that both stories show just how vulnerable we all can be at a moment’s notice.

“What the heck happened?,” she said. “He worked, she was a stay-at-home mom with two kids. Suddenly, you need help. You don’t know who to call for assistance, who to reach out to.”

And the story came full circle. Palmucci connected with the first woman she helped, and that women “paid it forward.”

“She gave me some phone numbers and places to call and told me who to call for free coats and boots,” she said.

However, a modest Palmucci still gives the credit to the town she lives in.

“I could not be more proud of the residents of West Orange,” she said. “They took the time to donate from their homes and give to a family in need just in time for the holidays. I say this not to say what I did, but to encourage others to do the same. My heart is full this holiday.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News

East Orange/Orange

Adults Step Up and Speak Out to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse

April 18, 2018

EAST ORANGE, NJ — The East Orange YMCA is marking National Child Abuse Prevention Month with Five Days of Action, April 16-20. Leading up to Healthy Kids Day, a national initiative to improve the health and well-being of kids, Five Days of Action raises awareness on how adults can step up and speak out to prevent child sexual abuse.

“By encouraging adults to step up and speak out, ...


April 24, 2018

EAST ORANGE, NJ, - East Orange Mayor Ted Green and the East Orange City Council, along with over 500 volunteers, took to the streets to clean up targeted neighborhoods throughout East Orange during the Earth Day Citywide Clean-Up on Sat, April 21, 2018. The event was coordinated under the direction of the Department of Public Works.

Approximately 40 teams comprised of employees, residents, ...

Essex County Announces Partnership with Nine Local Charitable Organizations

April 16, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ – Essex County will participating in nine special partnerships to increase awareness about and help raise funds for the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, the Arc of Essex County, the New Jersey Children Alliance, Stop for Nikhil, The Valerie Fund, the Arthritis Foundation, the Saint Barnabas Medical Center's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and ...

Selling Yourself Without Selling Your Soul

As a business owner, you are automatically in sales - regardless of what type of business you are in. Most of us think of sales as something that is uncomfortable and even icky. There are numerous derogatory jokes about the so-called "used-car salesman". We often get mad with sales people who ring our doorbells, we hang up on sales calls, and we even block ads on our internet ...

Keeping it Professional in Person and Online

When you want to attract quality clients, it’s imperative to be consistent in the way you deal with people -whether it’s in person or online. You need to use professional words, have a professional attitude, and act in a professional manner.

Social Media

It can be hard to remember, but even when you’re on your personal Facebook page, something you say there can end up ...

How to Get Potential Clients to Feel Confident About Your Ability

For people to contract with you, they need to have confidence in you. They need to know that you’re going to do what you say you’ll do. But, how can they know this before you work with them? There are plenty of signs that they’ll look at to determine if you’re trustworthy.

* Do What You Say You Will – Whether it’s in a group, one-on-one, or otherwise, ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, April 28, 3:00 PM

Abraham Clark High School - Auditorium, Roselle

Roselle's First Circle of Sisters Expo Community ...

Go Red for Women Luncheon Inspires Heart Health in Northern New Jersey

April 23, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ — In support of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Go Red for Women campaign, a lifesaving movement that raises funding for cutting-edge research focused on cardiovascular health and celebrates women’s ability to inspire others to fight heart disease and stroke, hundreds of women attended April’s ninth annual Northern New Jersey Go Red luncheon at ...